The car’s prodigious boot space is surely to be a prime factor in a fleet manager’s choice for drivers who need a workhorse rather than purely a means of transport.
Access to the boot is simple. Ensure it’s unlocked and touch the release button below the number plate. The hatch opens automatically and rises slowly.
Maximum floor length with the rear seats down is 205cms or a total capacity of 1,850 litres with the rear seats down loaded to the roof – 150 litres more than the Ford Mondeo estate and 143 litres more than the Honda Accord Tourer.
With the rear seats in position it has 118cms length available or a total capacity of 530 litres with the load cover in place, compared to 540 litres in the Mondeo and 626 litres in the Accord Tourer.
While the Vectra offers what you might call the industry standard with the rear seats up and the load cover in place, its strength lies in the space available when the rear seats are laid flat.
It swallowed two flat-pack wardrobes among a total of £200 worth of goods in a furniture and knick-knacks run to Ikea, without having to force the boot shut.
The flat floorspace allows for hassle-free loading, together with a wide boot opening and the automatic shut function using a push button on the boot lid that brings it down slowly to lock with a click.
However, a battle between the flat-pack and the Vectra resulted in victory for Ikea. Over-enthusiastic shoving of one purchase saw a part of a rear side panel in the boot breaking off.
The replacement part has been on order from a local Stamford dealership for more than a month.
The breakage was more due to brute force than poor quality parts, but shows that while its size may invite van-like exploitation, care is needed.
Vauxhall Vectra estate SRi 1.9 CDTi 150
Price (OTR): £20,965 (£24,415 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 40% tax-payer: £154 a month
Combined mpg: 46.3
Test mpg: 42.5
Power (bhp/rpm): 148/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 232/2,000
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,025 (24%)
HSBC contract hire rate: £434 Expenditure to date: Nil